Overestimated usage, unable to lower monthly payments

Hi

When I moved into my flat the previous owners had Bulb and I just took that over. I was going to switch as the estimated cost was over £100 a month which was way too high, I spoke to an adviser and ended up reducing my monthly payments to £50. I used £68 during December when I had the heating cranked up, so left the payment as it was because I thought it was fair to assume I’d use a lot less between March to October.

I didn’t submit a reading in March or April as after the last reading they said every 3 months is fine. However last week I received an email saying my monthly bill is going from £50 to £99 to cover my debit of £186. So I submitted my meter readings and Bulb ended up crediting me £54 because they over estimated my usage, I’m now currently £32 in debit. However I am still unable to lower my monthly bill to less than £89?

I feel considering I moved in right before winter started, I was always going to be in a bit of debit by this point and £32 seems reasonable. I think I will easily have that debit paid off by August if I stick with £50 per month. Then as it gets colder again at the end of October I will look at slightly increasing my payments if needed. (I was only using around £70 per month in the winter)

How can I get Bulb to review my estimated usage and revert my monthly payments back to what it was? I’ve tried twice with no luck at all so I’ve had to cancel my direct debit. I’m happy to pay a fair monthly amount but £89 is completely unreasonable, especially when money is tight at the moment. My debit is only £32 which I’m 100% confident I will pay off in the next 2-3 months if I continue at £50 per month.

Just an observation, I suggest it is not a good idea to cancel your DD as Bulb are entitled to charge you £15 for a missed payment.

Bulb are giving out confusing advise when they say a meter reading every three months is OK, following that advice can lead you into the situation you find yourself in. Monthly meter readings is the best course of action.

Yeah going forward I will give a reading at the end of every month.

It’s a joke they doubled my monthly payments then acknowledged they overestimated my usage but still do not allow me to reduce my monthly payments. That’s why I’ve cancelled the direct debit to give me a chance to review my usage at the end of this month and then make a manual payment.

If I use more than £40 this month then fair enough I need to up my monthly payments a bit but anything below £40 means I will clear my debit within 3 months so I have no idea how they justify trying to charge me £100.

I just made a quick estimate below and if I pay their minimum amount for the next 6/7 months I will be in credit of well over £200 by December. If I continue at £50 per month I will be about £20 in debit which I can easily fix by slightly increasing my payments later on in the year if needed.

Current balance
Bulb Actual Difference -32
June 89 40 49 17
July 89 40 49 66
August 89 40 49 115
September 89 40 49 164
October 89 50 39 203
November 89 60 29 232
December 89 70 19 251

By sending readings in 3 monthly they will have used estimates, send them in monthly and within the 2 day time frame when they are requested and they will then use your actual readings.
Contact Bulb direct and they should be able to bring things back on an even keel.

Yeah I’m going to do monthly readings if I stay with Bulb, I only didn’t because they said 3 months is fine. It’s just annoying I’ve spoken to 2 different people who were unable to help which is why I’ve posted here. Bulb have acknowledged they overestimated my usage but the monthly payment they estimated before my new reading still stands. Even if I use £40 or less energy this month and have to pay £89, I have no faith they will let me reduce my payments back down to a fair £50 after that.

Hi @JamesB

Welcome to the Bulb Community!

Our suggested payment amount is based on estimated usage in a property, which relies quite heavily on historic usage figures.

This means if you’ve recently moved in and are using less energy, our system can be a bit slow to update to reflect that. However, we don’t want you to be overpaying as a result of this. We only want you to pay for energy you use, after all.

I’m going to send over an email to discuss this in a bit more depth with you. If you could have a look there that would be great :bulb:

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Hello James,
You are not alone, I have been asking Bulb to lower my bills since at least April.

They (and the app) keeps on telling me that my monthly usage is £95 to £100, whereas my actual usage from my meter readings for the last 12 months is £70.13 and the previous 12 months is £78.16.

Currently I am £289 in credit and my summer usage means I will be roughly £380 in credit by the beginning of this winter.

If I try to lower the payment in the app it will not let me and insists that my payment should be increased!

I believe that there is an error in their Energy Usage web page and this is where they are getting the monthly payment from. This does not agree with my meter readings over the past three years. I have asked Bulb how they work out these energy usages but have got nowhere.

Hi @Planky and welcome to our Community :zap:

I’m going to send you an email so I can look into your monthly payments and usage.

The usage page most certainly needs some attention.

Here’s mine, with the numbers below:

I accept that the “projected” usage is going to be an estimate that (hopefully) draws on previous years data (where available), but the “actual” usage really should match up with billing data.

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Just a thought …have you submitted your actual readings within the 3 day time frame? so that actual readings are used rather than Bulbs estimates.

Do you have economy 7 meters? If so the usage graph is useless.

Yes I do!

It may be useless but they are basing your monthly payments on these graphs.

There will be an update within the next few weeks on the energy usage graph. We’ve been working on improving this area of the Bulb Account and therefore will update you all shortly :slightly_smiling_face: :zap:

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I’ve set my billing date to the 3rd of the month so that I can submit the meter reading on the 1st, and the graph is then fairly accurate for me. Having other payment dates meant that the graph started skewing due to the estimation sometimes going out.

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Ooh good thought I had not considered that in my post Monthly usage in payments wildly incorrect

Hi @Noah_at_Bulb,
Will this resolve the long standing issue regarding economy 7 logged nearly 3 years ago?

"My usage" graph counting all electric usage at the day rate

If @Planky is correct then this will hopefully resolve

Monthly usage in payments wildly incorrect

I haven’t yet been given the full update myself. However, when I do I will make sure to ask about economy 7.

Hi just to update you on my original post, Curtis was really helpful and was able to see my estimated usage was wrong and manually set my monthly payments back to £50. If I start using more then I will obviously increase my payment but based on the first 6 months I’m thinking it should be fine.

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Yes, I do. Can’t see how that would cause errors in the gas usage though! :slight_smile:

The gas difference is slight. This could be due to when the readings are submitted and it then approximates the reading at the month end for the graph. It’s not tied to the statement but the readings.